The Valley of Giant Tingle Belles
Up Amongst the Tingle Belles
My sixty eighth birthday started in fine style with an all blue sky, which was welcome after many early spring days of winds and rain. Before Rob and I headed off for the Valley of the Giants (Western Australia’s giant Eucalyptus Tingle Trees that grow to 75 metres) and while standing at the top of Zoonie’s steel stepladder, no doubt uplifted not only physically but also by the beauty of the day and the small fact it was my ‘special’ day, I announced across the puddled boatyard to our friends Peter and her hubby Dave who were working on their super cruiser/racer “Today I am sixty eight and we’re off to explore!”
If they thought I was slightly mad they didn’t show it but instead insisted we go and have a great time.
The same day two years ago we were in the village at Fulanga, Fiji where Mare and Jone, our hosts and Bill, the late chief’s grandson, arranged a lovely day of celebrations culminating in a feast and Kava session that will not be easily forgotten.
This year my day out is surrounded by thoughts of the voyage we have ahead of us that is unique in our circumnavigation in that we may have to sail home, the remaining 17,000 miles with few or no stops, instead of enjoying the Indian Ocean Islands, which brings to light the need for new plans on victualling for many months at sea and researching rounding South Africa into the South Atlantic avoiding the worst of the Agulhas Current as it meets the Southern Ocean area and using or dodging the Low Pressure systems that will be travelling east towards us.
A day out was much needed.
Walking amongst the giants along the suspended steel pathway that moved gently beneath us, and seeing how prehistoric forest can live on if it’s left alone, helped me start to put the next few months into perspective. Our timing of the voyage is unchanged, we would be leaving Australia at the right time, and sailing around South Africa at the right time too. So that was a good start. I would research other sailors who have done the same journey and see what I could learn from them.
I loved the way the young trees were growing upwards with perfect peaked tops as soon as there was space in the canopy for them; and looking down at the forest floor at the naturally fallen trees wondering how long ago they fell. They can live to over 400 years old, so the fallen ones will provide food and shelter to the forest creatures for around 1200 years making their existence something like 1600 years, providing food and trapping carbon in the most efficient botanical way. One could do the circuit along the 600 metre elevated walk as many times as one wanted. The walkway itself was designed along the lines of two of the forest plants, the strong sharp leaves of the Sword Grass for steel supports and the star-shaped Tassel Flowers that provide the steel viewing platform supports. The entirety elevated so the tender toes of the tingles are not compressed and broken.